Breaking and Entering is a very serious charge. The key elements of the offence is entry into property, whether it be a store or a residence. Although the offence refers break and enter nothing has to be broken to prove the charge. That is, entering through an unlocked door into a residence may still constitute an offence. The Crown will almost always seek jail upon conviction.
Breaking & Entering Charge
This crime may be committed in one of three ways:
- Breaking and entering into a place with the intention of committing a crime once inside (for example, theft or assault)
- Breaking and entering into a place and actually committing a crime once inside
- Breaking out of a place after committing a crime inside (for example, a person who hides in a store until it closes, steals a number of items and then breaks out while the store is still closed)
Lesser variations of this offence include the following:
- Being Unlawfully in Dwelling
- Trespass at Night
- Forcible Entry
A “place” is defined as one of the following: a dwelling-house; a building or any part of a structure; a railway car; a boat; an airplane; a trailer; or a pen where animals are kept.
Although the offence refers to “breaking”, it is not a requirement that anything be physically broken. Opening a closed but unlocked door is sufficient to prove the “breaking” element of this charge.
Breaking and entering into a person’s residence is a separate offence that is generally treated much more seriously than other break-and-enters, which is discussed further below.
Breaking and entering is a relatively serious crime, and the police often use sophisticated methods of investigation to identify the suspect, such as searching for fingerprints and DNA testing of items touched by the offender.
Bail Conditions for Breaking & Entering Charge
The Crown frequently opposes the release of anyone charged with this crime.
Since these crimes frequently happen at night, it is common for the judge to impose a curfew condition on anyone charged with this offence. We can help ensure that any conditions imposed on you do not cause you excessive hardship while your case progresses.
Defending Breaking & Entering Charges
In all cases, our lawyers will sort through and assess the evidence obtained by the police in the course of their investigation to determine any weaknesses in the case against you.
We will also listen carefully to your account of the incident, and consider whether your case raises any of the following questions:
- Does the Crown have sufficient information to prove the identity of the perpetrator?
- Did you enter the place for a lawful reason?
- Did you mistakenly enter the wrong house by accident, or because of extreme intoxication?
- Are there eyewitnesses to the crime? Are their statements unreliable? Are the witnesses trustworthy?
In most cases, the Crown Prosecutor seeks a jail sentence of those who commit this crime.
Your sentence will depend on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the crime you committed or intended to commit when you broke into the place, the extent of any damage caused when you broke in, the value of any items taken, and whether or not anybody was hurt as a result.
Breaking and entering into someone’s home carries a higher potential penalty than any other type. The Crown will seek a jail sentence in virtually every case where a home has been broken into.
In addition, the fact that the home was occupied at the time, and violence or threats were inflicted on the residents requires the judge to increase your sentence!
The Judge must also take your personal circumstances into account.
- Do you have a prior related criminal record? Do you suffer from a drug addiction that caused you to commit the crime?
- Have you shown remorse?
- Have you taken any steps to repair the damage you caused?
- Do you have good future prospects?
Let us be your voice in the event you need to take responsibility. Depending on the specifics of your case and your personal background, we can explore the following options: Drug Treatment Court; out-of-court diversion; plea bargaining to a less serious offence.